<
>

Rapid Reaction: Yankees 5, Red Sox 2


BOSTON --The Yankees beat the Red Sox 5-2 behind an offensive explosion -- for them -- and some more fine pitching from Hiroki Kuroda, David Robertson and Mariano Rivera.

WHAT IT MEANS: The Yankees go into Sunday Night Baseball with a chance to leave Boston in style. The two teams have split the first two games. CC Sabathia (9-8, 4.07) faces Ryan Dempster (5-8, 4.24). The Yankees return to six back of the Sox in the AL East.

HIROKI: Kuroda is the best starter on the Yankees these days. He was in the first half and he started the second half superbly. He threw seven innings of two-run, five-hit, four-strikeout and one-walk ball. Kuroda is now 9-6 with a 2.65 ERA. Kuroda didn't allow a run for the first six innings before giving up the two-spot in the seventh.

NUNEZ DELIVERS: Eduardo Nunez had three hits, including two doubles.

The Yankees need players like Nunez to come alive, if they are going to have a chance in the second half. (An added bonus on Saturday, Nunez's helmet even stayed on during one of his hits.)

OVERBAY, TOO: Lyle Overbay also had three hits, including two doubles.

TACK-ON: In the seventh, the Yankees added three runs. Nunez would lead off with another double and come around on a Cruz single. With two outs, Cano and Overbay delivered RBI singles to put the Yankees' up 4-0.

In the ninth, Cruz scored his third run of the game on a Cano sacrifice fly.

CANO? WHOA: Cano irks fans the most when it looks like he is not fully engaged. His supporters will argue this is gracefulness. His detractors will counter he doesn't always try.

On Saturday, Cano made a fielding error in the sixth where he didn't seem to fully concentrate. In the seventh, when the Sox put up their two runs, it might have been avoided.

After David Ortiz singled, Mike Carp banged a gapper to left center. Gardner ranged over and made a fine throw to Cano. Cano didn't seem to be paying enough attention to the fact that Carp was going for two. By the time he finally realized it, his concentration seemed rattled and he dropped the ball that had arrived before Carp.

The Sox went to cut the lead in half in the inning.

WELLS DONE: Vernon Wells made a nice throw to the plate to prevent the Red Sox from jumping on top in the first. Ortiz stroked a two-out single to left. Daniel Nava tripped, but didn't fall coming around third. It did slow Nava down and Wells' throw arrived in plenty of time.

Wells is going to be in the outfield more with Zoilo Almonte on the DL.

STEWEY: To end the eighth, Chris Stewart made a nice catch between home plate and the dugout in which he fell into the stands. Nava tried to tag up from first. Stewart fired to second to nail him and end the inning. Weird decision by Nava in a two-run game. Great play by Stewart.

STANDING MO: When Rivera entered the game, the Fenway fans gave the retiring closer a standing ovation.

RAIN DELAY, BUT NO RAIN: The game was delayed 20 minutes because there was a threat of rain. It never rained, so first pitch didn't occur until 4:25 p.m.

ON DECK: I will have all the news from the clubhouse, while Johnette Howard will write a quad news column. Ian Begley is in Scranton.